From brains to behavior: Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods for neuroscience research

October 01, 2007

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (Mon., Oct. 1, 2007) - Research in the field of neuroscience is constantly expanding to provide knowledge about biological mechanisms that underlie our ability to experience and interact with the world around us. To facilitate such research, two neuroscience methods are featured in this month's release of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols. Both are freely accessible online (www.cshprotocols.org) and include movie clips that help to illustrate the procedures.

The first protocol, available at http://www.cshprotocols.org/cgi/content/full/2007/20/pdb.prot4848, describes a step-by-step approach to prepare brain slices from rats or mice for growth in culture. Brain slice cultures, which are easy to prepare and maintain for several weeks or even months in the lab, allow researchers to examine the structure and function of neurons in their native environment.

The brain slice culture protocol was contributed by Dr. Michael Dailey's group from the University of Iowa (http://www.biology.uiowa.edu/daileylab). His lab uses brain slice cultures in conjunction with high-resolution imaging and staining techniques to investigate changes that occur during the development of the central nervous system, as well as changes that occur after injury to the nervous system. Brain slice cultures can also be used to test the effects of various drugs or genetic backgrounds on brain function.

The second featured protocol is from Dr. Leslie Griffith's lab at Brandeis University (http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/griffithlab). It describes how to properly assess courtship behavior in male fruit flies. Because the behavior of male fruit flies is dependent on many environmental stimuli, it is important to measure courtship behavior under highly controlled conditions. Griffith's protocol describes how to control visual input, for example, by manipulating the light conditions under which the experiment takes place.

Griffith's protocol, freely available at http://www.cshprotocols.org/cgi/content/full/2007/20/pdb.prot4847, also describes how to assemble a courtship chamber and discusses strategies for observing and measuring courtship behavior. It can be used to evaluate the effects of prior experience and genetic background on courtship, and will be useful to researchers who are interested in understanding the biological basis of behavior.
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For a complete list of articles in the October issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols, please see http://www.cshprotocols.org/TOCs/toc10_07.dtl.

Contacts:

For content and submission information:

David Crotty (crotty@cshl.edu; 516-422-4007), Executive Editor, Cold Spring Harbor Protocols

For access, subscription, and free trial information:

Stephanie Novara (novara@cshl.edu; 516-422-4070), Journals Marketing Manager, CSHL Press

About Cold Spring Harbor Protocols:

Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (www.cshprotocols.org) is an online resource of methods used in a wide range of biology laboratories. It is structured to be highly interactive, with each protocol cross-linked to related methods, descriptive information panels, and illustrative material to maximize the total information available to investigators. Each protocol is clearly presented and designed for easy use at the bench--complete with reagents, equipment, and recipe lists. Life science researchers can access the entire collection via institutional site licenses, and can add their suggestions and comments to further refine the techniques.

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press is an internationally renowned publisher of books, journals, and electronic media, located on Long Island, New York. Since 1933, it has furthered the advance and spread of scientific knowledge in all areas of genetics and molecular biology, including cancer biology, plant science, bioinformatics, and neurobiology. It is a division of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an innovator in life science research and the education of scientists, students, and the public. For more information, visit www.cshlpress.com.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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